Title

Taking Britain from darkness into light: The social construction of the "professional businessman" during World War I

RIS ID

135097

Publication Details

Van Der Laan, S., Moerman, L. & Campbell, D. (2019). Taking Britain from darkness into light: The social construction of the "professional businessman" during World War I. Journal of Management History, 25 (2), 165-179.

Abstract

Purpose This paper aims to contribute to an understanding of the process of the construction of the professional businessman in Britain in the early twentieth century.

Design/methodology/approach Two books authored by the prominent British industrialist Sir Samuel Turner III are analysed as a form of contemporaneous discourse. This allows for examination of the texts as a particular genre of social media within their social, economic and political contexts.

Findings Sir Samuel Turner III derived the elite status from his family's standing as a prominent Lancashire, church-going, industrial dynasty. The role of business and the businessman as a professional are recast as the means to restore Britain to its former pre-World War I glory - a position that continues to resonate in a variety of contexts today.

Originality/value The paper contributes to our understanding of the construction of the social world through discourse. While Turner's ideology of the relationship between labour, capital, business and society may appear quaint to our twenty-first-century experiences, it is nevertheless an important reminder that the elite voice influences political and social action.

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JMH-10-2018-0057